What do you know about Texas? If you’re planning a trip to Texas, you probably already know some of the basics and may have some ideas about the Lone Star State in your mind already.
However, there is so much to Texas that you’ve probably barely scratched the surface of all the fun facts about this beautiful state! Texas has so much history, culture, and amazing towns and cities, but it is also full of many strange little facts that are sure to surprise you.
In this article, we have 27 fun facts about Texas that you need to know. Some of these facts may even give you ideas for locations to visit while you’re in Texas! Let’s get started.
1. Six Different Nations Have Ruled Over Texas
During the history of Texas, the state has been ruled over by six different nations. These countries are Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America, and of course, the United States of America.
All of these changes of power occurred over three centuries and led to our next fact.
2. Six Flags Amusement Parks Were Named After the Six Different Nations
The first Six Flags amusement park opened in Texas in 1961. Called Six Flags Over Texas, the name of the park comes from the fact that six different nations have flown their flags over Texas and ruled the state.
Six Flags has since expanded across the country to have parks in several different states but the Texas-inspired name has remained.
3. Texas Was An Independent Nation
While we’re on the subject of the six flags to have ruled over Texas, one of those flags belonged to the Republic of Texas. That means that at one point in history, Texas was considered to be its own independent nation and sovereign state.
The Republic of Texas existed for around nine years, from 1836 to 1845. It ended when it was annexed by the United States on December 29, 1945, when it became the 28th state in the union.
4. Texas Is The Second Largest State
Of all the 50 states in the union, Texas is the second largest by size. It is only beaten by Alaska and is 268,596.46 square miles in size.
The distance from border to border is around 870 miles and if you wanted to make that drive, it would take you around 14 to 16 hours, depending on your driving style and the number of stops.
It’s also the second most populous state after California with a population of over 28 million. That means that over 10 percent of Americans live in Texas!
5. Texas Is Larger Than Any European Country
This fact follows from the last fact and seems hard to believe but is really true! Texas is so large that it is larger than any European country (excluding transcontinental Russia)
This means that Texas is larger than France, Germany, and Spain! In fact, if Texas was its own country it would be the 39th largest country in the entire world.
6. Houston Is The Largest City
Houston is the largest city in Texas with a population of around 2.3 million people. That means that approximately eight percent of the population of Texas lives in Houston!
It’s the fourth largest city in the United States as well, as only Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York have larger populations.
Houston is consistently ranked highly as one of the best cities in the country to live in as it has a relatively low cost of living, excellent schools, and great job prospects.
7. But Houston Is Not The State Capital
Despite Houston’s size and high living standards, it is not the capital of Texas. That honor goes instead to Austin. Austin is also a large city with a population of just over a million and it is the 11th largest city in the United States.
It’s a very vibrant city that has a lot of natural beauty, thanks to the numerous stunning parks and lakes contained within the city boundaries. It’s also well-known for its live music scene.
8. The Texas State Capitol Building Is The Largest In The Country
When it comes to the square footage of the building, the Texas Capitol building is the largest state capitol building in the nation. The only capitol building that is larger is the National Capitol building in Washington D.C.
Although it is smaller in square footage, it still has some advantages over the National Capitol building! The dome of the Texas Capitol building is seven feet taller than the dome of the National Capitol.
9. The Designer Of The Texas Flag Is Unknown
The Texan state flag is one of the most well-known and recognizable state flags in the United States. Most Americans can recognize the Lone Star flag with its red, white, and blue sections and single white star, but nobody knows who the original designer was.
When the flag became the official state flag of Texas it was based on a drawing made by Dr. Charles B. Stewart, but he wasn’t the person who first designed the flag. The original designer still remains a mystery to this day!
10. The Flag Represents Several Ideals
Although the original designer of the flag is unknown, the reasons behind the color choices and design are pretty easy to deduce and understand.
Instead of being any random shade of red, white, and blue, they are matched to the same shades used in the flag of the United States. The colors also have their own meaning beyond the Star-Spangled Banner.
Red is used to represent bravery, white represents purity, and blue represents loyalty. These are three ideals that are very important to Texas.
11. A Road In Austin Is The Fastest In The Country
As well as being the capital of Texas, Austin owns the honor of being home to the fastest legal road in the United States. If you’re driving down highway 130 between Austin and Seguin, you can legally drive at speeds up to 85 miles per hour!
Although the legal limit in the United States is 70 miles per hour, the Texas Transportation Commission has the authority to set speeds up to 85 miles per hour if the road is deemed safe enough to handle it.
12. The Texas Rangers Is The Oldest State Law Enforcement Agency In The County
The famous Texas rangers can trace its history back to 1823. The agency was unofficially created by Stephen F. Austin when he issued a call to arms and employed 10 men to help protect new settlers to the state.
On August 10, 1835, Daniel Parker took the first steps to make the Rangers official by introducing a resolution to the Texas Permanent Council. The Rangers were temporarily disbanded following the Civil War but were later reinstated.
13. Texas Has Its Own Power Grid
A state the size of Texas needs a lot of power to keep it going and the state has its own. In the unlikely event of the US power grid collapsing, Texans would still be able to keep their fridges running, power their air-con, and watch their favorite TV shows.
The Texas state grid is run by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and is known as ERCOT. It does still have some connections to other grids as Texas can import power from other places if it needs to. However, it is not bound by federal regulations and operates independently.
14. Texas Has America’s Largest State Fair
State Fairs are a common event throughout the country but the Texas State Fair is the biggest! It’s been held annually since 1886 and takes place every September to October.
If you’re in Texas during those months, you should go out of your way to get involved with the fair. You can enjoy live music, thrilling rides, and more delicious food and drink than we can list in this article!
15. Texas Has A Lot Of Tornadoes
Many states have to deal with tornadoes but Texas has to deal with more than most. On average, 139 tornadoes hit the state every year, making it the most tornado-prone state in the entire country.
If you live in Texas, you’ve probably been affected by tornadoes and would have taken part in tornado drills since childhood.
16. The Deadliest Natural Disaster In US History Happened In Texas
We move from tornadoes to hurricanes for this next fact. The deadliest natural disaster to ever occur in the United States happened in Texas in 1900. The Great Galveston Hurricane killed between 6,000 to 12,000 people, with most official reports citing the number as 8,000.
Most of the deaths happened in and near Galveston, a coastal resort in the south of the state. The storm surged to heights of up to 12 feet and destroyed around 7,000 buildings. A quarter of the residents of Galveston were left homeless by the hurricane.
17. Dr. Pepper Was Invented In Texas
Dr. Pepper is one of the most unique and distinct non-alcoholic beverages in the world. It’s one of those drinks that you either love or hate and it was invented in Texas!
It was invented in 1885 in Waco and was on sale across the country by 1904. It still calls Texas its home as the top-secret formula that makes Dr. Pepper is securely housed in two different banks in Dallas.
18. Frozen Margaritas Were Also Invented In Texas
In 1971, the restaurateur Mariano Martinez converted a soft-serve ice cream machine and made the first frozen margarita. This machine is now on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History!
The idea for the machine was inspired by the ubiquitous Slurpee machines found at 7-11s. If you visit Dallas, make sure you pay a visit to Margarita Mile. Named after the famous drink, you’ll be able to taste as many cocktails as you can handle.
19. There Are Lots Of Honky-Tonks
Also known as honkatonks and honkey-tonks, these are a special type of bar that you will find throughout the southern states. These bars regularly have live entertainment and you will usually find them blasting country music.
Honky-tonks have allowed many famous country musicians to hone their skills in front of a live audience. If you ever find yourself in Texas with a free night, then we highly recommend visiting a Honky-Tonk for a drink and some country fun!
20. The World’s First Rodeo Happened In Texas
Rodeos have a close association with Texas and this is partly due to the first rodeo in the world being held in the state. This occurred on July 4th, 1883, and rodeos are still held across the state to this day.
You can even visit the site of that first rodeo in Pecos, Texas, as it is still running! If you can’t make it to Pecos, then head to Houston for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo instead.
This is the largest rodeo in the world and has over two million visitors every year. Rodeo remains a popular event in Texas so no matter where you are, there is sure to be a rodeo near you.
21. Texas Can Get Very Hot
Due to its position in the south of the United States, Texas is one of the hottest states in the country. The southern parts of the state rarely dip below 60 to 70 degrees in the winter, although the more northern parts can see temperatures 20 degrees lower than that.
Snow is very rare throughout the state but can sometimes fall on higher ground. The highest temperature ever recorded in Texas was 120 degrees Fahrenheit. That is comparable to temperatures that can be found in the Saharan desert!
22. Texas Has The Largest Known Bat Colony In North America
There are many different animals in Texas and there are also a lot of them, but nothing rivals the number of bats in Texas. Located in Bracken Cave, there is a colony of bats that is known to have over 20 million members! This is the largest known bat colony in North America.
That’s more people than live in any city in the United States and even more than the number of people in Mexico City! Texas is also home to the largest known urban bat colony which can be found in Austin, at Lady Bird Lake.
23. Texas Has Several State Animals
Most states have a designated state animal, but Texas doesn’t just have one! In fact, the Lone Star state has several state animals, but the animals most commonly associated with Texas are usually the Texas leghorn chicken and the armadillo.
The story of how the nine-banded armadillo was chosen as a Texas state animal is very interesting. In 1995, some elementary school students in Texas held a mock election to pick a new state animal and the armadillo won!
24. King Ranch Is Larger Than The State Of Rhode Island
When a state has a lot of animals, it needs a lot of space to keep them. King Ranch is one of the places and at 825,000 acres, it’s larger than the state of Rhode Island. It’s so important and such a place of interest that it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1951.
The ranch is home to over 35,000 heads of cattle as well as 200 quarter horses. It spreads across six different counties! You can visit King Ranch if you wish and there are organized tours around the ranch.
25. Amarillo Is The “Helium Capital Of The World”
As far as city nicknames go, “helium capital of the world” has to be one of the most interesting! America’s National Helium Reserve is in Amarillo and it is said to have 90 percent of the world’s recoverable helium supply. In all, this is over 1 billion cubic meters of helium!
26. It Has A Time Capsule Due To Be Opened In 2968
In 1968, the Helium Centennial Time Columns Monument was built in Amarillo. It was built to mark the 100th anniversary of the discovery of helium and contains a time capsule that is due to remain sealed for 1000 years, until 2968.
The monument actually has four different columns that are due to be opened 25, 50, 100, and 1000 years from the date the monument was erected.
They contain various artifacts from 1968 and have different themes that relate to conservation and resources. So far, the 25 and 50-year columns have been opened on schedule!
27. The World’s Largest Convenience Store Is In Texas
You can find convenience stores in cities and towns throughout the world and Texas is no different. Whenever you need a drink or snack to keep you going through the day then you’re sure to find something suitable in a convenience store.
The largest convenience store can be found in New Braunfels. Called Buc-ee’s, it is over 66,335 square feet, and as well as your usual convenience store items, you can also find Texas-themed souvenirs and plenty of homemade snacks that will make you want more.
In this article, we listed 27 fun facts about Texas that you need to know. Although you may have already known some of them, we’re sure that some of our facts would have been a surprise.
There’s so much to learn about Texas and we hope that you get the chance to explore and learn all about the state. Enjoy your visit!
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